Thursday, December 01, 2005

Reading Assignment

Love & Obstacles, a story in last week's New Yorker by Aleksandar Hemon starts with a familiar Balkan scene, sitting in a train, listening with a mixture of trepidation and curiosity to a conversation bristling with violence. But, as anyone who's familiar with the stories and novella contained in his first published work, The Question of Bruno, or his 2002 novel, Nowhere Man, Mr. Hemon will slip a brutish joke here, a "forgive my stupidity" bow and curtsy there, and we leave on an ordinary trip with unusual gatherings. His gift for English is that of a foreigner's view of the language. He seems to carefully mouth the words before combining them for full effect. The seventeen year old hero of this New Yorker story is off on an allotted family acquisition trip.
"Some weeks before I set out on this journey, my father had called a family meeting. "There comes a time in the life of every family," he'd said, "when it becomes mecessary to acquire a large freezer."..."The very well-being of our family requires new investments," my father said. "Abundance demands storage." " So begins his voyage. I was an unwilling virgin, my bones draped in amorous flesh." Armed only with the Pill, train ticket, money for the freezer, and his wits he's off to what he's hoping is a new world. A world worthy of his high -browed thinking and low-browed desires. For those unfamiliar with Mr. Hemon, the story is a great introduction. For those familiar with his eye and his tongue, well nothing more need be said. You've probably caught this story soon after it came out. A little tease before his next book.

Argh - another addition to my bedside pile! We shall have to declare a truce at some point, but for now, damn the torpedoes!
WP, my apologies for the salvo of Slavic books. In my case, due to the ever-abundant recommendations coming down, along with the Canadian cold front, from the North (ahem, who/what could that be?), I've been consulting with buddies in the trade as to how one can bolster that side of our bedroom, lest the pile of books start seriously damaging my humble abode's structure. The ever-loving wife has already nixed the steel pylons offered up as a structual fix.
Open each book to the middle, then pile them at the precise center of gravity of the room. When the book pile reaches the ceiling, separate into two piles of equal mass, moving each an equal but opposite distance from said center of gravity.

It works. My bedroom is structurally undamaged.
...and the bed goes...where?
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